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Career success is an “inside-out” process. If you dedicate yourself to a careful self-assessment before you launch your next job search, you will find yourself in an elite group of professionals who know what they want, know what they have to offer, and know where their careers are taking them.

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Your resume is the single most important marketing tool you have. This book covers the most important topics you will need to master in order to create a military to civilian career change resume that attracts attention and job offers. 

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Self-Marketing for Military to Civilian Career Transitions looks at the new context of work with its universal entrepreneurial culture. Whether you own your own business or are part of a giant multi-national corporation, you can’t afford to think of yourself or your career in any other terms. 

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Jumpstart your career!

 The Jumpstart Session is designed to give you the feedback, advice, guidance and confidence that you need to succeed in your career transition.
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Veterans Spouse Benefits

Military spouses can find it challenging to start or sustain a career in their chosen field because of the various challenges that come with being the husband or wife of a soldier. Though it may be challenging, having a career while being a military spouse is entirely possible with the knowledge of a few tips and helpful advice for how to find the right career field and consistently translate your abilities into skill sets attractive to employers.

“Constraints” are not Always Constraining

Two or three flexible fields

Military spouses who are able to live near their loved one while deployed often live with the possibility that they will most likely move from their current location at some point in the relatively near future. While many spouses may see this as a barrier to having their own career, it doesn’t need to be. One of the easiest ways to find a career that works well with your life while deployed is to look around you. What fields do other military spouses work in? As it turns out, Military Spouse did a survey recently on just this question. Their survey found that health care was the number one ranked field, with 64% of respondents indicating they work in this field. After health care came business and the public sector, with 15% and 12% respectively.

So, what does this survey tell military spouses? In general, it seems to support the idea that spouses should look for careers that offer great flexibility – meaning careers for which there’s always a need, regardless of location and economy. Health care certainly qualifies, as does education in most cases, even though it didn’t make the top of the Military Spouse survey’s list.

Don’t worry about relocating

Another common concern - and perceived barrier - to military spouses finding a career is the concern that employers won’t like the idea of them potentially leaving in a few years. But this has become less and less of a concern for employers, and no longer acts as the barrier it once might have been.

The first thing that military spouses should realize is that while their spouse has been in service with one employer for a long period of time in most cases, the average person today only stays with a company for roughly no more than three to five years. So, if you are concerned about the possibility of moving in three to four years, don’t be. You’re right in there with the average person looking for a job today. The days of spending 20 to 30 years with one employer, unless it is a branch of the military service, are essentially gone.

In place of an explicit or implicit commitment to stay in a position for a number of years, employers are looking for dedication to the position from day one. Employers want to hear that you will be dedicated and committed 100% to the job or the position for which you’re hired, regardless of how many years they’re going to be able to commit.

Because of this, you should focus on the skills that you possess and convey to the potential employer that you will be committed to that job should you be hired for it.

Employers are Looking for Your Talents

Translate Your Household Management Skills into Job Skills

Often times, military spouses want to start their own careers but are apprehensive about the process either because they have never been in the traditional workforce or have been out of it for a longer period of time. These individuals have, in addition to the concerns and perceived barriers mentioned above, the added challenge of building a resume and articulating a skill set they acquired primarily from household management.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, though it often does, that organizations look for exactly these types of skills. A spouse with a background in household management already has great planning and organizational skills. Military spouses should know that if you can run a household, you’re flexible and possess logistic skills that are necessary to many private sector positions. Articulating your skills so that the potential employer can easily envision utilizing your skills in the workplace will be a focus for you as you write your resume and cover letter, among other things.

You should also keep in mind to pay close attention to the skills needed for the job or career path you are interested in.

Take a look at the job, and then try to see what kind of skills it requires. For example, if the job calls for project management skills, you should relate your experience managing a large-scale home project you completed, as evidence of your project management and contracting skills. The key, really, is how well you can articulate and speak about your skills when asked. If you can you phrase them as skill sets that employers are looking for, you’ve made a great step towards your next career.


Military spouses should not shy away from pursuing a career in the “traditional” workplace. Many of the assumed barriers to career success – difficulty choosing a commonly needed career field and translating household management skills into workplace skills – can be overcome with a little research or change in perspective. Furthermore, other barriers no longer exist. In particular the often-voiced concern about regular relocations has become a non-issue in a world where all employees spend an average of three to five years at a given company. Thus military spouses should feel confident that they can have a career of their own while being a military spouse and may even find that their life has given them skills employers will find highly valuable.

Key Take-Aways

  • Having a career as a military spouse isn’t easy, but it is well within your reach
  • Constraints aren’t always constraining - the prospect of a relocation shouldn’t be a “dealbreaker”
  • Know which fields are the most location-flexible, consider positions in these fields
  • Don’t underestimate your household management skills and other abilities you’ve developed while being a military spouse

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